China launches three new satellites

China sent a resource satellite and two smaller ones into planned orbits on Thursday.

They were launched on a Long March-4B carrier rocket at 11.26 a.m. from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Shanxi province, Xinhua news agency reported.

The resource satellite, ZY-1 02D developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), will provide observation data for natural resources asset management, ecological monitoring, disaster prevention and control, environmental protection, urban construction, transportation and contingency management.

With an expected lifespan of five years, ZY-1 02D carries a near-infrared camera with a coverage width of 115 km, enabling it to observe large and medium-sized cities, and be used for urban planning, said the satellite’s project manager.

The satellite can also be used to observe chlorophyll concentration, water transparency and total suspended matter concentration in lakes to help monitor the environment and prevent water pollution.

One of the two small satellites launched on the same rocket belongs to Beijing Normal University, and is named BNU-1, and the other belongs to a Shanghai-based private space technology company. Both have an expected lifespan of one year.

BNU-1, developed by a Shenzhen-based company affiliated to CAST, weighs about 16 kg, and will be mainly used to monitor polar climate and environment, greatly helping research of the polar regions and global climate change.

The satellite can report sea ice changes, which could help with ship navigation and make channel risk assessments.

Thursday’s launch is the 310th mission of the Long March carrier rocket series.

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